December 30th, 2009
10:50 AM ET

In year-end message, Taliban calls 2009 'successful'

KABUL, Afghanistan - In a written statement, the Taliban calls 2009 "a successful year for mujahedeen" and says it is determined to drive coalition forces out of Afghanistan in 2010.

"Last year the guerrilla warfare, frontline war, attacks and road mines against the invaders increased as the enemy began to cry out for reconciliation," said the statement, obtained by CNN on Wednesday.

"The enemy does not have a constant policy," the unsigned statement said. "Sometimes they talk about sending more soldiers and other times they speak of an early withdrawal. Their thinking is irrational."

This is the latest example that the Taliban has stepped up its propaganda efforts in recent months. The group launched a Web site in Pashto, Dari and English. It also released a 37-minute documentary in English on Christmas,  purportedly showing a captured American soldier in Afghanistan.

According to the year-end message, another success was that Afghan citizens did not participate in the "fraudulent elections, taking the guidance of the mujahedeen; so their elections failed."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai was reelected in August in a national election that was marred by voter fraud and rigging at the polls. Karzai was sworn into office in November for another term, but is under intense pressure to wipe out the corruption that runs rampant in Afghanistan.

In past years, the Taliban said, the United Nations, Europe and the West have been compelled to accept their power and influence. "The world that once believed the Islamic Emirate was not influential has now accepted us as the powerful and political Afghan mujahedeen."

U.S. President Barack Obama has announced that he will send more troops to Afghanistan, the statement noted, and "the Islamic Emirate also announced widespread operations in the country starting in April 2010."

The statement tallied up the organization's death tolls and other statistics for 2009, saying that 540 insurgents were killed and injured; 5,587 foreign soldiers were killed or injured; 2,049 local police were injured; 7,254 local police were killed; 44 aircraft were downed; and 3,667 vehicles were damaged.

"Unfortunately in airstrikes and shootings by the invaders, hundreds of innocent Afghan civilians have been injured or killed," the statement said. "For example, in the Farah and Kunduz attacks, 500 civilians died including women and children."

That number is far above the deaths acknowledged by the U.S. military. In the May 4 incident in Farah province, at least 26 civilians and 78 Taliban were killed, according to a report released after an investigation. However, investigators said they will never be able to determine with certainty the civilian deaths, mainly because of the Islamic practice of quick burial.

An airstrike ordered by German forces over the northern province of Kunduz in September killed at least 90 people, according to reports at the time. Germany's Bild newspaper later reported 142 were killed. Local officials said at least half of them were civilians, and NATO acknowledged there were civilian deaths. Franz Josef Jung, a former German defense minister and labor minister, resigned in November over the airstrike.

The Taliban "is determined to use modern techniques against international coalition forces in 2010 to compel the warriors of the White House and Brussels (Belgium) to escape from Afghanistan," the statement said.

- CNN's Atia Abawi and Journalist Matiullah Mati contributed to this report.

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